Bitcoin Low-Carbon: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System which is Ethical and Ecologically Sustainable

White Paper


On October 31, 2008 a landmark white paper was published under the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto” entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” and introduced the world to Bitcoin. This paper addresses some of the unforeseeable and unintended negative consequences of the massive growth in Bitcoin since its inception. This includes the inexorably high consumption carbon-based electricity to fuel mining activities as well as the high level of concentration and control of Bitcoin mining including within regimes of questionable human rights records. In this white paper we introduce the concept of ‘Bitcoin Low-Carbon’ or Bitcoin LC, which provides an ecologically friendlier and more ethical version of Bitcoin Core while retaining all of its security, privacy and an immutable distributed ledger. Ultimately this is the same bitcoin with only a few additional consensus rules in order to allow users to identify bitcoin mined only from renewable energy sources.

In order to accomplish this, Bitcoin LC mandates that Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) includes simple information certifying the use of renewable energy-sourced mining where new blocks submitted can only be accepted from miners holding a low carbon emission digital certificate issued by an independent Bitcoin Low-Carbon Foundation.

Such an organization would be open, transparent and its sole function would be to provide simple, compliance verification and issuance of the digital certificate.

Bitcoin LC requires three additional consensus rules related to the insertion of the digital certificate and which are described in this paper. Bitcoin LC operates on the same network parameters as the current version of Bitcoin Core and remains a dedicated peer-to-peer electronic cash system permitting online payments transacted directly between individuals without going through any third party. Bitcoin LC also continues to provide the same digital signature and security through a consensus-based distributed ledger with a timestamp as part of the process, while significantly decreasing the risk of a coordinated attack from the ever-increasing concentration of hashing power even as the Bitcoin Low-Carbon network expands.

The solution to the double-spending problem as described by Satoshi in the original version of the white paper, used a peer-to-peer network with consensus-based PoW as the mechanism to avoid the double-spend. However in the case of Bitcoin LC, this process is significantly enhanced by leveraging one network with another as will be described in more detail.

While new chains historically have suffered from a lack of hashing power and would require hundreds of confirmations to ensure the integrity of the chain, Bitcoin LC avoids this problem by creating a significantly improved network which uses the block header of the current Bitcoin Core as an integral part of Bitcoin LC blocks.

The network timestamps combined with the Bitcoin Core block header form a double record resulting in a massive proof-of-work. Together they will provide evidence of the greatest amount of hashing power of the genuine chain. Therefore, the possibility that a group of miners holding a majority of the hash power could attack Bitcoin LC is practically impossible to do so.

Bitcoin LC will also have a much greater resistance from any future attacker using quantum computers and make it impossible for it to be outpaced as each new block on the Bitcoin LC chain will contain the hash of the Bitcoin Core blockchain as well as the digital certificate held by network nodes for mining. This also guarantees the digital certificate for low carbon emission electricity remains intact.

The entire network topology will remain the same and would continue to broadcast messages to the other network nodes using the same TCP/IP ports on a best-efforts basis while permitting nodes to come and go, and while continuing to accept the longest PoW from the Bitcoin LC chain. At the time of implementation, the Bitcoin Core chain will fork, and Bitcoin LC will live on the exact same network and with few additional consensuses rule set.

We believe that over time, as market forces demand greener and more sustainable blockchain operations, bitcoin users will have a powerful incentive to move away from non-renewable energy sources and furthermore that hashing power will progressively migrate from the Bitcoin Core to Bitcoin LC.